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The Britney Show

I understand that magazines—especially urbane ones such as The Atlantic—are facing difficult times right now, but if your recent Britney Spears cover story (“Shooting Britney,” April Atlantic) is part of a larger effort to ameliorate that struggle, then it will surely misfire. Rather than win subscribers from the In Touch crowd, the move is far more likely to alienate your present readers. I have always respected The Atlantic’s eclectic array of subjects, even when not covering those of global significance. Be it a travelogue of Africa’s Skeleton Coast, a look at contemporary book releases, or an examination of modern Chinese artists, I always came away feeling somehow enriched. This cover story tells me nothing I could not have gleaned from an episode of Access Hollywood.

Just weeks after this issue hit the stands, the nation was rocked by the collapse of Bear Stearns and now faces an economic cloud darker and more ominous than any seen in 50 years. Many Americans stand to lose far more than their respect for a fading pop diva. It is my hope that a place can be found to deliver care and insight to these and other pressing matters of state.

Joshua Goldfond
New York, N.Y.

I must admit that one of the things I have always loved (and hated) about The Atlantic was that I often found myself reading with a fine-point marker, circling the words I could not readily define. I’ve always felt richer from this process as I plodded along in articles that were sometimes—shall we dare say it?—boring. But, heaven forbid, you’re breaking new ground—a lengthy article about The Brit? In The Atlantic?

I must say, I was skeptical when I saw the issue’s cover. But what a delightful reporting and writing job by David Samuels. I can only hope that his fee for letting me drop my marker and enjoy a story about a world and a demographic that confuses and bemuses me is higher than the fee for the pictures used to illustrate his informative—or should I say entertaining?—piece of journalism.

I wonder if the article’s subject will read it or understand any of the words? Probably not. Despite her income, she doesn’t fit your demographic targets. Thanks for taking a chance on this story for readers who probably couldn’t care less about this tragic young woman.

Jim Beck
Evansville, Ind.

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